I think one of the most valuable things we can do as parents is seek the advice of those who have come before us. When I meet people with adult children who have grown up to be kind, polite and accomplished, I always ask, how did you do it?
Clearly, there is never just one answer, but lately I’ve been taking an informal poll of friends I have with grown children, and their answer seems to be universal, keep them close. This means different things to different people, but for the most part, it means engaging with your children, spending time with them, and encouraging a relationship that makes them want to hang out with you whether you are 48 or 68.
I think we all go through a stage when our children don’t like us, and don’t find us to be particularly cool. These are the trying times when “keeping them close” is the last thing we feel like doing.
It is tempting to send sassy teenagers to their rooms to spend the evening doing whatever they do on their phones and iPads. It is much harder to demand that they instead spend time with the family, but I am coming to understand from those who have parented before me that this is what we are called to do.
In the end, I think the goal for most of us is to “keep them close” so that they will always want to come home again. I applaud my friends who have done their jobs well, and I hope I will be a successful as they are with a lot of perseverance and a dash of luck.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including three on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.